Schoolgirls’ fear spurred by teacher’s talk about Trump resolved a year ago
By Jack Mayne
Two young schoolgirls told the SeaTac City Council on Tuesday night of the fear generated amongst their music classmates when a teacher told them that new President Donald Trump would want immigrants to leave the U.S. and “go to their own island or country” (see video above).
Safaa Sedite brought the two young girls to the SeaTac City Council session to “tell their own stories in their own words” about a third grade music teacher’s comments on the ideas of the new American president.
Catherine Carbone Rogers, the Highline School District’s chief communications officer, said Wednesday the matter was considered resolved a year ago, shortly after the issue arose.
Huddling in fear
One of the young girls, Osafina, said that last year she and her “best friend” were in a third grade music class last year when the teacher started to talk about Donald Trump.
“Later she started to scare us and I don’t think she was trying to, but she actually really did. Our classmates started huddling up together thinking they were going to get deported or never see each other again.”
Many of the students began crying while huddling together in fear, she said.
“When I think about it, I get very nervous and always very worried and scared for my friends and family. America is already beautiful and great because of all the beautiful differences and cultures. I think it is very important that everybody should celebrate and support each other no matter what the color of their skin is, or culture, religion or clothes.
“After that day, I went home worried about my friends and family. I think it is very important that everybody is love, safe, feels safe and feel important,” the child told the Council.
Only Americans here
Her friend Danip said the early grades in school were “all wonderful, except third grade” when the teacher began talking about “a new president” Donald Trump.
She “told us only Americans could be in America and everyone would have to go their own island or country.”
“This made everyone in my class so sad and scared that they gathered up in groups of friends thinking it was going to be the last time they were going to see each other. Our music teacher was speaking in a loud, aggressive voice, which made us even more scared and worried. I started to cry and so did everyone else.
“My parents left Iraq to be somewhere safer,” Danip said. “I was born in this country. I worried about my family and classmates. I went home and asked my mom if we were going to be ok and safe. My mom said yes because we were citizens.”
Regular SeaTac Council commenter and SeaTac Blog columnist Earl Gipson said after the girls spoke that we “don’t need teachers teaching the political agenda, we need them to teach in reading, writing and arithmetic so you can function in this society.”
Resolved long ago
Highline Public Schools public affairs officer Catherine Carbone Rogers says the matter was addressed and solved long ago.
“Our teachers are expected to ‘refrain from promoting their biases’ in discussions with students according to Procedure 2331P, and we hold staff accountable to that standard,” Rogers said after The SeaTac Blog asked for outcomes.
“The situation in question happened last year in March or April,” Rogers said. “The teacher was responding to questions students asked about the presidential candidates. The girls reported to their parents that something had been said that was upsetting to them.
“One of the girls’ parents brought this to the principal’s attention at that time,” said Rogers.
“The principal investigated and took appropriate action with the teacher,” she said. “The principal followed up with both girls’ parents today, and both said they considered the matter resolved a year ago.”